Madrid’s Towering Inferno a Total Loss

February 16, 2005

The biggest fire in Madrid’s long history ravaged the 32-story Windsor Building in the heart of the Spanish capital on Sunday night and on into Monday morning. News reports on European TV stations showed an immense blaze, reminiscent of the 70’s movie “The Towering Inferno.” Unlike the film, however there was no dramatic extinction of the blaze, and the still smoldering building has been declared a total loss.

While terrorism was initially considered a possible cause of the fire, authorities now believe it was more likely started by an electrical short circuit. The 328 foot high structure, the city’s 8th tallest, had been undergoing extensive renovations. There ‘s still a possibility the entire structure could collapse, and the surrounding area, including several subway stations, remains closed.

Early reports indicated that Spanish insurer Mapfre S.A. had a 40 percent share of coverage and Allianz Seguros, the Spanish subsidiary of Germany’s Allianz had the rest. Mapfre indicated its preliminary loss estimates were around 10 million euros (13 million) net of reinsurance. Allianz hasn’t issued any statement as yet.

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